Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Melissa de la Cruz Interview!

Yay! Melissa de la Cruz, author of Blue Bloods and The Au Pairs is finally answering my questions, instead of just raising them with each new installment of the Blue Bloods series!

Revelations and The Van Alen Legacy are extremely hard to blog about, due to the huge plot details that you want to gush over, but also not spoil. What's your advice for bloggers on how to deal with later books in series such as yours? What do you prefer as an author, and as a reader?

Interesting question! I do prefer if bloggers would not spoil the plot points and just talk about the story in a general manner. As a reader, I don't read reviews with plot details at all because I don't like to find out what happens, I just like to find out if the reviewer recommends the book, that's usually all I need to know. As an author I feel the same way.

The Blue Bloods sure do like to travel! Have you been to all the cities you describe in such detail? What are your favorite places to visit?

Yes, although I also rely on research assistants who have lived in the city for a long time to help me with details. My absolute favorite place to visit is Italy – I set a lot of Blue Bloods in that country so I get to go a lot!

Many pieces of history are important to the Blue Bloods story--everything from the fall of Caligula to the lost colony of Roanoke. What's your favorite period in history to learn about?

I love the Roman Empire, I love the decadence, and the urban drama, and the culture, that whole feeling of 'all roads lead to Rome' – it was a place where everything happened, it reminded me so much of living in New York – that feeling of being in the center of the world. I think that's why I relate to that time period so much.

You mention on your website that you have an outline for the Blue Bloods series, but in The Van Alen Legacy you work in the current economic crisis and the devastating effects it has on the Blue Blood community. How specific is your outline and how much did you have to tweak it to work the recession in?

My outline is very specific on the plot points but not on the details of the environment they are in– the recession was easy to work in because it wasn't a plot detail, just a fun kind of filigree to add to the book to make it current. The story is classic – it can be told in any time period - but I like to root the story in what is happening now, at least on the surface. So that's fun to do.

If you could go back in time and talk to your high-school-freshman self, what would you tell her?

That life only gets better after high school.

What's your favorite place to write?

I can write anywhere as long as it is quiet. I have an office at home that I write in, but I can also write at my husband's architectural studio/office as long as there isn't too much noise, which is hard because contractors and clients are always coming in and out. I actually prefer writing in a corporate environment, since for years I wrote while I had my day job, so I find the sound of softly ringing phones and keyboard typing very soothing. But I haven't had a day job in more than a decade and I don't think I can just barge into an office and ask if I can write there. J

What are you reading right now?

Julia Powell's Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession, Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Krauss's Nanny Returns, and Tad Friend's Cheerful Money. I try not to read in my genre, I find it limiting. I'd rather read books that are very different from mine. I loved the The Nanny Diaries, though, (which was an inspiration for The Au Pairs) so I'm really excited about Nanny Returns.

What are you listening to these days?

When I take breaks I dance around to Lady Gaga. Although for the first time ever I really feel old—because whenever I see her on TV, I always think, "Madonna already did this! Kids today…" (shakes head) LOL!

Also, if you've already read Revelations, I have an extra question on the Spoiler Blog. It will only make sense if you've read the book though, so, you know, read the book first!

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Hazra said...

Great interview! I really liked your questions, they were very thoughtful.

Dan said...

Stop dancing around to Lady Gaga and go clean the bathroom.

Jennie said...

I'm not dancing around to Lady Gaga, Melissa de la Cruz is!

Ok, I am too. Sorry.

Serena said...

I loved this interview. Great answers